Winter 2019 Austin EMBC 1st Place Winner
Pitch Link: https://vimeo.com/329695948/ab295afe8f
Company Bio: The DuFresne Solutions Group specializes in developing mid-level leaders and managers to meet and exceed company goals. We affectionately describe mid-level leaders or managers as the “Squeeze Suite.” Mid-levels drive C-suite initiatives, manage direct reports, and work with peers making this pressure-filled role complex, fast-paced, and constantly changing.
In 2013 Jenny DuFresne opened up her own small business – DuFresne Solutions Group – to tackle the issues of leadership training across various industries. Jenny has a background in running well-operated businesses. She founded and led a multi-million dollar organization, but her next goal was to help shape and influence leaders. People who are moving into leadership roles want to learn how to become more effective and how to improve their leadership style by connecting with their subordinates. This is an ongoing need that Jenny felt that she was equipped to solve, especially because of her 10-years of leadership training in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Leadership is a complex set of internal and external behaviors. The DuFresne Solutions Group supports clients to get quick wins that lead to greater leader and team confidence. Jenny and her team work with mid-level and executive leadership teams of mid-market companies. Services include: understanding leadership style and impact; identifying how to form and grow great teams; the 7 building blocks to develop a thriving company culture; and communication strategies that motivate and get things done.
Jenny is very proud of one of the organizations her company supported – a large school district of over 400 staff members. The DuFresne Solutions Group supported leaders’ building the systems and behaviors to create a strong, results-focused culture. This work allowed leaders to feel much more confident with their leadership styles. Another significant result was an increase in student achievement and organizational culture. Creating clear structures and systems helped establish a company culture that team members can get behind. This was a big win for Jenny and her company because it reaffirmed her belief that she could help organizations no matter how large they were.
However, it wasn’t easy to get to this point. Companies don’t think about leadership because it isn’t a top of mind problem. Leadership training is usually the easiest thing to cut out from a budget or the last thing to consider. Companies don’t see the immediate return on investment when they put an emphasis on leadership training. When companies contact Jenny, it is usually because there are significant internal struggles to include staff attrition, decreased profits and productivity, or customer attrition due to a lack of leadership. In order to solve this, it is necessary to have a big focus on training, and by doing so it will be easier to prevent these issues. Companies lose momentum and market share when employees or managers leave. Jenny has realized educating companies on the value of leadership development is a key business strategy for the growth and service of the DuFresne Solutions Group. She has established an e-learning program as a mechanism to provide educational content and value.
Jenny was able to establish this program from all that she learned from the Austin EMBC. Part of why she joined was to be surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs. Utilizing all of the tools and resources helped Jenny continue her development, which is critical for her company’s growth. The opportunity to learn from experienced entrepreneurs is an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. Taking all of the content from the program allowed Jenny to build her story of how to articulate her business. This process helped Jenny tell what she has done and what she is looking to accomplish. Since winning the competition, Jenny has added more contractors to her team that will help her with the contracts she has secured.
One of Jenny’s goals in the next five years is to be able to have a full-time team. She would love to influence and train anywhere from 3,000 – 5,000 leaders face-to-face while also giving back by conducting leadership training in Africa. These are admirable goals that Jenny has given herself, and right now she is on track to reaching them. She was able to get this far because of her ability to get clear on what she was trying to do. It can be easy to be a jack of all trades within your company, but this can distract you from your main focus. Jenny emphasizes that this is crucial, because we often suffer from this idea that everybody needs us when in reality they don’t. Having this clarity of who you are serving and why you are doing it is super significant. Another piece of advice that Jenny wants to share is that you have to be consistent with what you are doing, while also knowing when it is time to pivot.
Generally, an unspoken topic about entrepreneurship is that it can be very lonely. It is important to have people around you that encourage you not to give up. It is very easy when you don’t see results or progress to get down on yourself. Entrepreneurial depression is not discussed enough, because for many entrepreneurs they were the all-stars of their corporate jobs or past endeavors, and then they seem to get little to no traction when starting their own business. One’s self esteem can suffer. This is an important message that Jenny wanted entrepreneurs to know.
We thank Jenny for having the courage to speak about this, and we are proud of all that she has accomplished in a short time period. Please take some time and go to seekleadership.com to see how your organization can utilize effective leadership training.